Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it

Whilst mulling over the general breakdown of my body at about 4am while I struggled to get comfy, I was reminded of something a friend told me in my pre-pregnancy days during an oddly philosophical debate about why society seems to think all women want to have children. We were in a boat at the time, and her comment was "what is so special about getting pregnant? Any dumb animal can do it".

She was, of course, entirely correct. In fact, most dumb animals are an awfully lot better designed to do this that we are. Our very design, as bipeds, means that rather than sensibly distributing the extra weight across four legs and the whole length of the spine, we end up with about 30 kgs of additional weight bearing down on our lower back, pelvis and leg joints.

Our labour also takes ages, is painful, and you end up with an entirely dependent blob at the end of it. I have often thought that marsupials have the edge in this respect. How lovely it would have been for Bump to have quietly and discretely crawled out a few months ago and set up residence in my Prada handbag for the remainder of the gestation while I went about my normal business.

If we are looking at convenience then anything that lays eggs really takes the prize. The production of a nice spherical object (none of those bumps and lumps making it difficult to get out) and then sitting on your bottom waiting for it to grow while your husband brings you food.

Of course if we are really looking for the ultimate in parenting ease then fish have it sorted out perfectly. Lay thousands of eggs thereby maximising the likelihood of some being healthy and making it to adulthood (none of this investing 9 months in one offspring), find a helpful male to spray over them before bidding him goodbye (no embarrassing morning after the night before moments), and then swim off into the sunset to enjoy a nice reef somewhere.

While the human approach has its merits, although I can't think of any right now, I can’t help but feel that evolution did well for almost everything else in the animal kingdom while dealing the human race a very unfair hand.

4 comments:

Grande Poobah said...

you're really not selling it.... the upshot would seem to be that pregnant women really do glow (this is true for you and P) and at least humans have more fun trying to get pregnant in the first place than your average fish or bird :-)

Mummy said...

To add insult to injury, the nice lady on the door in my apartment block asked me tonight whether I was having twins.

But, like you said, the practice was the best bit!

LottieP said...

In defence of my utilitarian bluntness (for lo! the cynic was me) I will say this: you know I like to exaggerate to make a point...

Mummy said...

Exaggeration? I think you understated the point. xx